Top 10 Public Archaeology opportunities at SHA 2014

Interested in Public Education and Interpretation?  The 2014 conference is chock-full of opportunities to learn, share, and experience Public Archaeology firsthand.  Here’s my top 10 recommendations for sessions to join or meetings to catch.

1.  Attend JOIN SHA’s Public Education and Interpretation Committee!

Committee meetings are scheduled for Friday morning at 8 am.  The PEIC will be meeting in the Courville Room at the Hilton Quebec.  On the agenda: introductions and what projects SHA members initiated over the past year, recap of SHA’s participation in the Archaeology Education Clearinghouse and attendance at National Council of Social Studies in St. Louis, and an update on the Public Archaeology Toolbox.

If you can’t make it for the meeting, join the conversation on Twitter @FPANlive that morning or email me at semiller@flagler.edu for future committee updates.

2.  Municipal Archaeology (Thursday 8:30 Room 301B)

All municipal archaeology programs owe their existence to public engagement.  The session includes overview of several municipal programs from the US (St. Augustine, Phoenix, New York City) and multiple cities in Quebec and Ontario.  Tours, exhibits, heritage tourism, and public excavation are just some of the many public benefits of these programs.

3. PechaKucha!  (Friday 1:30 Room 207)

One of the things I’m most excited to see is “My Research in a Nutshell.” PechaKucha is a presentation style where the speaker selects 20 slides and must confine comment to only 20 per slide.  PechaKucha Nights have popped up all over the country as a fun, informal way to communicate ideas, projects, or creative works.  I’m curious to see the different ways the students are successful in interpreting their findings for the conference but will keep my potential public audiences in mind.  Come observe, then challenge yourself to sign up for your local group.  For example, St. Augustine just started a PechaKucha Night series last year (check out their webpage) and I’m looking to get on the 2014 roster.

PechaKecha in action!

4.  Community Archaeology for the 21st C (Friday 3:30 Room 205B)

Joe Hoyt of NOAA organized this session to highlight collaboration between professional archaeologists and avocational divers to study WWI and WWII shipwrecks off North Carolina’s coast. The session culminates with a roundtable discussion between Hoyt, John Bright of the National Park Service, Fred Engle of Battle of the Atlantic Research and Expedition Group, and Brandi Carries of Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.  I’ll be listening especially to the outreach products that resulted from the survey, particularly creation of a documentary and integration of cultural resources into scuba training as mentioned in the abstracts.

5.  Public Archaeology Panel (Saturday 1:30 Room 207)

Public archaeology issues are best expressed by deliberation.  An international panel organized by grad students Nicole Bucchino (FPAN-UWF), Jennifer Jones (ECU) and Jenna Copin (CUNY) brings together PubArch veterans to discuss their experiences for grad students.  Lively debate is ensured with the participation of incoming SHA President Charles Ewen (ECU) on the panel, as well as representatives from Thunder Bay (NOAA), NPS, Cayman Islands, and consulting firms.

6.  Posters! (Friday 12:20 Room 200)

Poster abstracts recently became available and I can see several public archaeology offerings in the hall.

  •  “Sharing the Sweet Life: Public Archaeology in Practice at a historic Louisiana sugar mill” poster by Matt McGraw, Rebecca McLain and Veberal Clement of LSU promises to highlight Facebook page, student blog, site tours, displays and media coverage.
  • “Black Experiences within the Field of Archaeology” by Ayana Flewellen (UT at Austin) and Justin Dunnavant (UF), will highlight progress from the Society of Black Archaeologists Oral History Project and touch on themes that arose through the interview process.  What a great resource to consult for upcoming talks, including but not limited to those requested during Black History Month.
  • Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail poster by Benhamin Wells (UWF) will focus on a heritage tourism approach to interpretation.  Focus on maritime resources and how to overcome the challenge of sharing these sites with the public.

7.  New Acadia Project (Friday 4:15 Room  302B)

Mark Rees’ paper on Public Archaeology and Mythistory caught my eye.  The role of the archaeologist in exploring mythistory of Cajuns intrigues me, as well as use of crowdsourcing to fund the project.  This paper is part of a larger session on Archaeologies of Acadia: From Homeland to Diaspora.

8. Archaeologies of Memory and Identity (Friday 1:15 Room 206A)

Cross-cultural meanings of place and places of meaning will be presented with the intention of challenging us to use ethnographic approach in our work.   Patty Jeppson and Jed Levin are two of my PubArch favorites who always bend my brain to think in new ways.  Outside the US and Canada, this session will include papers from Australia, England, Portugal, Japan and the Canary Islands.

9. Community Education and Public Engagement (Saturday 3:30 Room 206A)

After you’ve had a chance to experience #10 (don’t peek!) come over to Room 206A and hear a variety of papers representing multiple approaches to public archaeology: social media, success of swag, hands-on excavation, avocational programs and archaeology months.  I’m particularly excited to hear from Archaeo-Quebec, an organization that looks similar to my own network.  Reading their abstract led me to looking up their website to learn more.    

10.  Last but not least….PUBLIC DAY!!!  Pleins Feux sur l’archaeology!!

Come see archaeology interpreted for the public Quebec style!  Each SHA public day is truly unique and I never lack for ideas to share (okay steal) after perusing the exhibit hall.  For a flavor of public day you can check out my blog last year from Leicester.  Full description of events available on the conference website.

Event Flier

Didn’t see your paper or poster?  Add it in the comments below!  And don’t forget to follow conference happenings on Twitter using the #SHA2014 and #PubArch hashtags.

Unless stated, all events take place in the Convention Center.  Refer to program for end times and full session descriptions.  While I took French for 9 years (yes, 9!) I’m obviously limited in my review of the abstracts submitted en francais.

Mes excuses à nos colleages francophones!  Si vous donnez un document de l’archéologie publique et je manqué, s’il vous plaît envoyer ci-dessous et je vais vous acheter une bière!

Last minute information for #sha2014: language, museums, ice hockey …

Vue de Québec 1851, William F. Wilson, Musée McCord, Montreal

We have had a few questions concerning language in Québec. Yes, French is the language spoken in Québec City! However, you will have no difficulty being served or getting directions in English! Do try using your French, it’s always appreciated. Have a look at this Youtube clip to see the differences between French as spoken in France and that spoken here in Québec: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw5Re7k1KBA.

There will be simultaneous translation for the Wednesday evening opening ceremonies and plenary session (http://www.sha2014.com/events.html#content6). What does this mean for you? You will be able to pick up a headset at the entrance to the room by leaving an identity card that will be returned to you when you give the headset back. Remember that the opening ceremony begins at 6:00 PM in the Québec Convention Centre, so please show up a few minutes early to avoid the crowd.

Want to visit museums while in town? The national museum “Les Musées de la civilisation” has a special offer for conference attendees. Show your conference name badge at any of the three satellites of the museum and get a substantial reduction on the entrance fee. Full information is printed on the back of your conference name badge. You will be able to visit the “Musée de la place Royale” and see the incredible archaeological collections from this site. The “Musée de l’Amérique francophone” is currently hosting “La colonie retrouvée”, an exhibition about the 1534-1536 Cartier-Roberval site. The “Musée de la civilisation” has several permanent and visiting world-caliber exhibitions. Learn more about the fantastic exhibitions on the “Musées” web page: http://www.mcq.org/index_en.html.

Would you like to participate in a friendly US/Canada hockey tournament? It will be on Saturday evening, January 11, from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM at the Parc de l’Esplanade outdoor rink on the rue D’Auteuil in the Old Town, just across from the “Assemblée nationale” (Parliament Buildings), but inside the fortification walls. Contact Antoine Loyer Rousselle for more information (antoine.loyer-rousselle.1@ulaval.ca).

The organizing committee is eagerly waiting for you. Have a safe and comfortable trip to Québec City!

#SHA 2014: Social Media at the SHA Conference

Over the past few years, SHA has built an online presence through the use of social media, and it began within the conference committee. This year, with the addition of the blog, and the society’s developing use of Twitter and Facebook, we want to encourage you all to incorporate social media into your conference experience in Québec City. You can find further information about the use of social media at conferences in general here and here. Using social media during the SHA Québec 2014 meetings will be a snap as high speed WiFi is available free of charge throughout the Québec Convention Centre!

Before the Conference

Using social media before the conference provides a number of opportunities to make your experience in Québec more enjoyable. Here’s some suggestions:
1. Catch Up with What’s Happening: We have a Facebook Page, a Twitter Account, and official Twitter Hashtag. We’ve also been posting blogs about Québec City and the conference since January. Follow and Like Us, and read up on what to expect at the conference!
2. Start Communicating: Twitter is a great way to meet other archaeologists. See who is tweeting with the #SHA2014 tag, and start conversations with them!
3. Advertise your session by blogging and posting: Do you have a blog? Use it to share your session, the reasons why it is important, where and what time it’s being held. Post it on our Facebook wall and send a tweet with #SHA2014 and @SHA_org mentioned, and we’ll share it with our members!
4. Share Your Trip: Let us know what’s happening on your trip to Québec City. Did you find a good travel deal? Need someone to share a ride with from the airport? Delayed? Lost? Send a tweet with the #SHA2014 tag and see if someone can lend a hand.

At the Conference
Once you arrive in Québec City, use @SHA_org and our Facebook page to communicate with the conference committee; we’ll be using it to communicate with you. Here are some things we’ll be using social media for:
What we’ll be doing
1. Announcing special events: We’ll send out reminders about events including the awards banquet, student reception and so on, so you don’t miss anything.
2. Special Announcements: If something is relocated, delayed, or cancelled, we will announce this via social media.
3. Answering Questions: Send your questions to @SHA_org or the Facebook page.
4. RTing and RePosting: We’ll repost on Facebook and ReTweet on Twitter the things you share on the #SHA2014 hashtag. If you’ve taken a great picture, made an interesting comment in a session, or provided some good information, we want to make sure our followers see it!

What you can do
1. Post YOUR Special Announcements: Has something happened in your session that is delaying things? Have you found a great restaurant or coffee shop you want to share? Spotted your book in the book room? Post these items and we’ll repost them so others can see them.
2. Ask Questions: Use Twitter and Facebook to ask questions about the conference. Can’t find a room? Can’t remember what time the Awards Banquet is? Send a tweet to @SHA_org or post on the Facebook wall and we’ll get back to you.
3. Take Pictures: we’d love to see and share your pictures from the conference, particularly from the special events. Conference photos will be posted on the SHA Facebook wall. If you post them on Twitter, please use the #SHA2014 tag!

In a Session
Twitter can be particularly useful when you’re in a session. It provides a backchannel of commentary and discussion, so people who couldn’t attend the session or conference can still follow along. It also gives presenters and chairs a chance to get some feedback on their presentation, and to communicate with the audience – leading to interactions and relationships that might not have occurred otherwise. Here are some tips to maximize the effectiveness, and civility, of Twitter. You can find more hints and tips here.

For Session organizers
1. Use a Hashtag: It’s OK with us if you give your session its own hashtag; this way, it is clear what tweets belong to what section. We STRONGLY advise that you also use the #SHA2014 hashtag, so that people following it will see your session as well. Otherwise, it may not be noticed. So, pick something short to save characters!
2. Make it Known: Make sure all your presenters know about the hashtag, and that you’d like to use social media during the session. Make sure that the audience knows as well; tell them as you introduce the session. Also, encourage your presenters to include their own Twitter name and the session hashtag on their introduction slide, so that people can use it during their presentation.

For Presenters
1. Be Loud: include your Twitter name on your presentation slides, and say something in your introduction about how you’d like to hear feedback on Twitter. If you DON’T want anyone to broadcast your session, make the request at the beginning of your presentation.
2. Respond: Be sure to respond to the comments that you get, and build relationships!
3. Pay it Forward: Be an active tweeter during the session for your fellow presenters.

For the audience
1. Be Respectful: Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t say to a presenter’s face; Twitter is, in general, a friendly place. Constructive criticism is certainly welcome, but remember you only have 140 characters. It’s probably best to send the presenter a private message saying you’d love to chat about their presentation rather than publicly dig into them. If a presenter requests silence on social media for their presentation, respect it and give your thumbs a rest.
2. Introduce your Speaker: It’s courteous to send a tweet out introducing the presenter and their paper topic before starting to tweet their presentation: this gives those following some context.
3. Cite: Use the presenter’s Twitter name, surname, or initials in all the following tweets so that their ideas are connected to them. Use quotes if you’re directly quoting someone from their presentation, and be sure to include their name. Remember: these presentations are still the presenter’s intellectual property, so treat it respectfully!

After the Conference
Just because a conference is over, it doesn’t mean the work is done! The same goes for social media; here’s how you can round out your conference experience:
1. Write a Summary: Use a blog or Storify to give other archaeologists a glimpse into your experience, session or paper, and see what they missed. This also allows us to gather feedback about the conference so we can make it better next year! Be sure to post it on Twitter, use the #SHA2014 tag, and post on our Facebook page so others can see it!
2. Post your Paper: Using a blog or academia.edu to post your paper is a great way to make it available to everyone. Or you could make a video; simply record yourself talking over your slides and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo (read more about this here). Then, share it with us!
3. Build your Networks: Build longer lasting relationships by looking up the people you’ve met at the conference on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (oh, we have a LinkedIn Group, too, just for SHA members). If you find them, send them a message saying how nice it was to see them!